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Toronto speeds up infrastructure work to take advantage of quieter streets

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May 4, 2020 by David Kennedy

With 45 to 65 per cent less traffic on Toronto roads, the city is making use of the pandemic-related slowdown to speed up a number of planned infrastructure projects.

“Despite the current challenges we are facing with COVID-19, this is an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate as many of the city’s major planned construction projects as possible as we kick off our summer construction season,” Mayor John Tory said in a release. “This is another example of common sense action the city is taking during the pandemic to help as much as we can.”

On May 1, Ontario adjusted its essential businesses list to include municipally-led construction, meaning infrastructure crews contracted by Toronto and other cities across the province can resume work this week.

City planners pointed to a handful of major projects that will be moved up, including bridge and TTC track rehabilitation work on Bathurst Street from Front Street West to Fort York Boulevard; the replacement of several aging watermains at major downtown intersections; and the rehabilitation of the Don Mills Bridge over the Don Valley Parkway.

The city said it is also working with contractors to speed up the tendering process for a number of other major road and water infrastructure projects.

Throughout the 2020 construction season, the city plans to resurface 147 roads and upgrade sewers on more than 100 streets. It said it plans to accelerate as much of this work as possible to limit traffic disruption as the pandemic restrictions are lifted and people return to work.

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